26 April 2011

Jesus Gives Practical Instruction Toward Making Disciples

Luke 10:1-12

Jesus very clearly states the problem in proclaiming the essential news to the world,
"The kingdom of God has come near to you."

"The harvest is plentiful, but the money is few."  Sorry, typo.  "The harvest is plentiful, but the buildings are few."  Whoops, my bad.  "The harvest is plentiful, but the marketing is few."  Rats!  Thank you for your patience.  "The harvest is plentiful, but the harvest isn't really that plentiful."  OK, OK.  I'll put away the popular Revised Slandered Version of the Bible and will now get out the real thing.

22 April 2011

Jesus is the Good Shepherd

John 10:1-21

Quite often, more than I care to admit, I am reminded of just how stupid I really am.  On this occasion, I decided to save my wife the aggravation of driving with me early in the morning to drop the van off for some maintenance work.  So, I dropped the van off at the mechanic a little after 7:30am, walked to the nearest bus depot and took the bus as near to my destination as possible.  I walked up the street until I was 800m from my destination where I had to be at 9am.  It was 8.20am.  Plenty of time.  Looking good.  I got my exercise.  Didn't wake up the missus.  And I will be on-time for my bookkeeping class.

16 April 2011

Jesus Reveals Who Has Sight and Who Is Blind

John 9:13-41

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

All his life, this man was blind.  He lived off the scraps of others.  He was a beggar.  What was worse, the man was seen by the authorities as a sinner.  He lived under the horrible consequences of wrong spiritual presumptions.  He was shunned, despised, ignored.  This was the life of a man living in a world filled with slaves to sin.  And, there was no conceivable way to escape this existence.  This would be his life until his death.

12 April 2011

Jesus Reveals the Works of God

John 9:1-12

...he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.

Jesus is the light of the world.  It's not just the drug addict, the crimelord boss, the prostitute and the teenage destructive force who live in darkness.  Without Jesus, we all do.  Without Jesus, we are incapable of seeing things the way they really are. 

While we are living in darkness, we do what all of us do as we walk through this life in ignorance.  We stumble.  We clumsily feel our way around.  We guess.  And very often, we make a wrong guess.

09 April 2011

Jesus Doesn't Care What Your Last Name Is

"The Pharisees Question Jesus" Tissot
John 8:31-59

Jesus tells Israel's religious teachers as plainly as possible about their spiritual position.  They are slaves.

What is their reaction?  "Teacher, we see you are from God because no one without God can do the things you have been doing.  Please show us how to be free."  Sadly, no.  Instead they say, "We are descendents of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone."  (Coming from a people enslaved by Egyptians, scattered by Assyrians, captured by Babylonians and at this time occupied by Romans)

How many people have justified injustices because of misplaced pride in where they are from and who their family is?  How many of us feel the need to treat others however we choose because they are inferior anyway? 

05 April 2011

Jesus Frees Slaves

John 8:31-59

Lack of understanding, of reason, is not many people's barrier to following Jesus.  Many people understand all too well. 

We understand that if we are convinced that Jesus is Lord, then Jesus is Lord.  We understand that to follow Jesus' message of "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" is to completely turn away from the life we have led.  And, quite frankly, many of us do not want ot turn away from the life we lived before.

03 April 2011

Jesus Is Home

Homecoming - Danny Halbolm
John 8:21-30

There are many, many people who believe that Jesus was a brilliant moral teacher who never made any extraordinary claims about himself.  The more I read John through this study and read John's letters to the church, it is clear John is reporting as an eye-witness to Jesus' ministry that this is simply not true.

John is focusing a lot of attention and much of his account on Jesus' argument with the religious leaders during the Jewish Festival of Booths.  Allow me to go into the circumstances of Jesus' teachings, please?